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Language in autism

LiA explores language and communication (acquisition/development) in autistic individuals. This includes developing new (experimental) methods to adequately investigate the diverse autistic population across the life-span. With our results we aim to a) inform theory (linguistics and cognitive sciences) and b) serve as input for improved autism diagnosis and intervention.

Key objectives

  • Developing research questions based on both theory and the autistic community’s needs, and tailoring methods to be suitable for investigating the diverse and heterogeneous autistic population;
  • Description of various language profiles in autism; comparisons with other clinical populations;
  • Fundamental: Explanation of variation and individual differences based on theory (linguistics/psychology), providing new insights in both linguistic theory and architecture of human cognition, specifically in the Constraints on Variation in Language and Communication;
  • Society: Input for improved evidence-based diagnosis and intervention in autism;
  • Support early-career researchers.


LiA convenes every week for one hour, currently on Mondays 12-13. More practical/organizational Lab Meetings are alternated by Presentation Meetings.  LiA will initiate 1-2  ACLC seminar lectures per year.

We also intend to organize meetings in which we present and discuss our results with stake-holders (e.g., self-advocates, relatives, caregivers, teachers, practitioners).

Coordinator and group members

Coordinators: Ileana Grama and Jeannette Schaeffer

Group members:

  • Staff (in alphabetical order): Corina Andone (FGW); Raquel Fernandez Rovira (FNWI); Monique Flecken (FGW); Karen Lahousse (University of Leuven); Beyza Sümer (FGW); Tim Ziermans (FMG).
  • Bachelor’s and Master’s students interested in and/or working on language in autism. 
  • Speech-Language Therapists interested in language in autism.